What Does MS69 Grade Mean In Coin Collecting?

In the world of numismatics, or coin collecting, the condition of a coin plays a vital role in its value.

Coins are graded on the Sheldon scale from 1 to 70, with 70 signifying a perfectly minted coin.

Coin grading is a meticulous process carried out by professional coin grading services such as PCGS or NGC.

MS69 is a high grade on the coin grading scale. But what does it stand for, and what does it signify?

Mint State 69

MS is an abbreviation for Mint State, a term utilized to describe a coin in its original, uncirculated condition, just as it was when it left the mint.

The numerical value that follows, in this case 69, represents the coin's condition on the Sheldon scale that ranges from 60 to 70 within the Mint State category.

What Makes A Coin Earn A Mint State 69 Grade?

An MS-69 coin is one grade below absolute perfection, or MS70 (Perfect Uncirculated).

It is a coin that has maintained its original luster and has no more than two small, non-detracting flaws or contact marks.

These imperfections are so minuscule that they are often invisible to the naked eye and require magnification to be detected.

It's also worth noting that the grading process is highly subjective. 

While grading guidelines offer some consistency, the final grade can still vary based on the grader's interpretation.

That's why it's essential to have coins graded by reputable, professional grading services.

What Is The Difference Between MS-69 And MS-70?

According to PCGS and their grading standards, a Mint State 69 coin "Must have very attractive sharp strike and full original luster for the date and mint, with no more than two small non-detracting contact marks or flaws. No hairlines or scuff marks can be seen. Has exceptional eye appeal. Copper coins must be bright with full original color and luster."

NGC who are another top rated grading company describe MS69 as "A fully struck coin with nearly imperceptible imperfections."

PCSG describes a MS70 as "The perfect coin. Has very attractive sharp strike and original luster of the highest quality for the date and mint. No contact marks are visible under magnification. There are absolutely no hairlines, scuff marks or defects. Attractive and outstanding eye appeal. Copper coins must be bright with full original color and luster. "

NGC describes a MS70 according to its grading standards as "A coin with no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification."

These grades can apply to any United States coins or other World coins.

MS69 Vs MS70

Image Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

What's The Difference Between Uncirculated MS69 And PR69?

MS69 and PR69 are both grades given to coins by professional grading services, but they refer to different types of coins.

MS69 stands for Mint State 69. This grade is given to regular issue coins that were not intended for collectors and are in near-perfect condition.

These coins have been made for circulation, however have remained uncirculated and show minimal signs of wear or damage.

They have maintained their original mint luster and tone having no more than two minor, non-detracting flaws or contact marks.

They can also be referred to as Superb Gem Brilliant Uncirculated or Superb Gem Uncirculated.

On the other hand, PR69 stands for Proof 69. This grade is given to proof coins, which are special coins minted for numismatic collectors.

They are struck using specially prepared dies and planchets, resulting in a coin with a mirror-like finish with no trace of wear. A PR69 coin is in near-perfect condition, with no more than two minor, non-detracting contact marks or flaws.

The main difference between MS69 and PR69 is the type of coin they refer to. Regular issue coins versus proof coins.

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